Fred Argy - Speech, Federation Chamber

Federation Chamber

5 February, 2018

Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (16:41):  On 2 January, Australia lost one of our great economists, Fred Argy. Fred worked originally in business before completing a Bachelor of Economics in 1956 and a Master of Economics in 1960. He then pursued a distinguished career in the Public Service, advising governments from Menzies to Keating. He held a range of distinguished positions, including the Deputy Secretary (Labour Economics) of the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and the Australian Ambassador to the OECD in Paris.

After retiring from the Public Service, he continued to serve as a project direct for CEDA and as President of the Economics Society of Australia.

Nicholas Gruen wrote of Fred:

Fred Argy was a lovely guy. Affable, generous both publicly and privately, selfless and self-effacing.

I enjoyed his books, in particular Where to from here? Australian Egalitarianism under threat, which inspired me to write Battlers and Billionaires and was cited by the shadow Treasurer in 'The case for opportunity', a speech in 2016.

My heart goes out to Fred's widow, Ida Argy, his wife of 60 years, and to his grandson, Nicholas Argy, who tragically lost his father Stephen some years ago. In Nicholas, I see the qualities that I so loved in Fred—an integrity, an honesty, a commitment to public service, a questing after truth and a desire to make Australia even better.


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